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One of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s biggest findings in his final report was that Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik had ties to Russian intelligence and worked for Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Thanks to The Hill’s John Solomon, we just learned that Kilimnik is far from the dastardly, Kremlin-linked shady character he is described as in Mueller’s report. In fact, Kilimnik was a “sensitive” intelligence source who worked for years for the U.S. State Department. This information did not appear in Mueller’s report, but Kilimnik’s ties to Russian intelligence were mentioned on page 6. “The FBI assesses” Kilimnik “to have ties to Russian intelligence,” the report said of Kilimnik.
As Solomon reported, after reviewing “hundreds of pages of government documents – which special counsel Robert Mueller possessed since 2018,” Kilimnik was not just any State Department source:
He interacted with the chief political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, sometimes meeting several times a week to provide information on the Ukraine government. He relayed messages back to Ukraine’s leaders and delivered written reports to U.S. officials via emails that stretched on for thousands of words, the memos show.
The FBI knew all of this, well before the Mueller investigation concluded.
Solomon further reported that Kilimnik was so valued as a source for the State Department that his name was not included in “cables” so that he couldn’t be included in any WikiLeaks hacks. Alan Purcell, who was the chief political officer at the embassy in Kiev between 2014 and 2017, apparently “described what he considered an unusual level of discretion that was taken with handling Kilimnik,” according to an FBI interview reviewed by Solomon. That same interview stated: “Normally the head of the political section would not handle sources, but Kasanof informed Purcell that KILIMNIK was a sensitive source.”
For example, Kilimnik would provide the State Department with information regarding Ukraine’s opposition bloc, which sometimes would be sent immediately to the ambassador. And it was not just the U.S. that relied on Kilimnik. Other Western governments apparently worked with Kilimnik as well.
“One time, in a meeting with the Italian embassy, Purcell heard the Italian ambassador echo a talking point that was strikingly familiar to the point Kilimnik had shared with Purcell,” an FBI report reviewed by Solomon stated.
Kilimnik’s work as a U.S. informant began in 2012 or 2013, providing information about former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration. This is where Manafort’s ties come in. Kilimnik worked for Manafort’s lobbying firm, which had been hired by Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.
The FBI wrote in one of the documents that a former U.S. Embassy political officer met with Kilimnik “a least bi-weekly and occasionally multiple times in the same week,” which was done outside the embassy to keep Kilimnik’s name off the books.
“State officials told the FBI that although Kilimnik had Ukrainian and Russian residences, he did not appear to hold any allegiance to Moscow and was critical of Russia’s invasion of the Crimean territory of Ukraine,” Solomon reported.
Yet if one only knew about Kilimnik from Mueller’s report, one might think he was a Putin loyalist.